Borussia Dortmund, as expected, won their first competitive match under new management on Saturday afternoon, beating 6th-division side 1. FC Rielasingen-Arlen in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. Marc Bartra and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (hat-trick) scored the goals in an easy 4-0 win.
Lineup: Bürki; Piszczek, Sokratis, Bartra, Beste; Sahin, Dahoud, Castro; Philipp, Aubameyang, Schürrle.
Despite it only being the start of the campaign, Bosz’s lineup almost picked itself. Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro, Julian Weigl, Marcel Schmelzer and Erik Durm remain injured and Ömer Toprak, Mario Götze, Christian Pulisic and Sebastian Rode were also unavailable for selection. Ousmane Dembele was suspended for absenting himself from team training on Thursday in an effort to force a transfer to FC Barcelona.
The only open spot on the team, left-back, went to Jan-Niklas Beste ahead of Dan-Axel Zagadou, the 18-year-old German making his professional debut. Schürrle and Philipp replaced Pulisic and Dembele on the wings.
Given the difference in class between the cup holders and a 6th-division side, Dortmund was always likely to see a vast majority of the ball and, in truth, the only question was about the margin of victory.
The Black and Yellows converted the first real chance of the game after 12 minutes. Nuri Sahin picked out Beste on the right side of the penalty box — he had swung in a corner kick moments earlier — and the young defender found Bartra at the near post. The Catalan tucked the chance away neatly and gave his team an early lead.
Dortmund struggled to create many clear-cut scoring opportunities against disciplined hosts — even though the game took place in Freiburg, some 108 kilometres from Rielasingen in South Baden. The underdogs had a decent chance themselves after 27 minutes, with midfielder Benjamin Winterhalder forcing a nice save from Roman Bürki.
The visitors doubled their lead four minutes from intermission, Aubameyang scoring from the spot. The Gabonese had flicked the ball into Philipp’s path beautifully and Rielasingen goalkeeper Dennis Klose brought the former Freiburg attacker down.
Rielasingen had a few attempts from distance as Dortmund at times failed to close down opponents with enough urgency, but they hardly troubled Bürki. BVB scored 10 minutes into the second period when the hosts had committed a few too many players up the pitch.
Dahoud released Aubameyang, the 28-year-old sprinting away from two defenders and lobbing Klose with his weaker left foot to make it 3-0.
Apart from an instance in the 67th minute when Rielasingen wasted a three-on-one counter attack with a hopeless early shot, the underdogs paid for their efforts in the first 60-odd minutes and grew weaker and slower by the minute.
Aubameyang completed his hat-trick 10 minutes from the final whistle, albeit from an offside position, while he, Philipp or Dahoud could have added another goal or two. The Gabon international is now the highest scoring foreigner in club history, moving ahead of former Switzerland striker Stephane Chapuisat.
All in all, Dortmund lacked a bit of ingenuity here and there to make their dominance count on the scoreboard, but it was a concentrated, sincere performance, which is all it took on Saturday.
Still, the Black and Yellows have some work left to do ahead of their Bundesliga opener at VfL Wolfsburg on August 19.
Yellow Wall Game Ball: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Scoring a hat-trick, even though the third goal should not have counted, Aubameyang showed he doesn’t care against whom he plays: As long as he scores, he’s a happy man.